Synergy can be an over used business buzzword, but what does it really mean and what can synergy do for you? Simply put, synergy as it applies to business, teams and leadership, is the idea that a well operating team is more than the sum of its parts. If you like math analogies, synergy looks like this:
Synergy is essentially the ability of the group to outperform even its best individual. This is important for businesses because I know of no business leader who has a team full of star performers. Rather, our teams are a mix of people, talents and attitudes. So the idea that we can take so many different individuals with different abilities, strengths and weakness and distill from them an alchemy of gold performance is hugely appealing.
Where are we likely to find the most synergy? It tends to magically happen in the most cohesive groups where each person is individually working toward the same goals. If we want to capitalize on synergy and synergy is found in abundance in cohesive teams than we must consider how to maximize team cohesion.
The first thing that pops to mind is the second sentence from the subsequent paragraph, “It tends to magically happen in the most cohesive groups where each person is individually working toward the same goals.” As leaders, we are responsible for sharing our vision with our team to create the goals that will get us there. If we don’t have a clear understanding of where we are going, our team will lack the shared goals that make synergy a real, solid thing.
What else creates real synergy by magnifying the positive individual traits of group members? First, strong mutual positive attitudes among members can help stoke the fire of true synergy. Second, positive interactions and communication helps create the interdependence, friendship and satisfaction that shore up very good groups against outside threats.
As a leader, we can’t go to our teams and say "I’d like us to have more synergy." However, what we can do is work to put all of the needed elements in place for it to happen naturally. Work on defining your vision, sharing it and creating the kind of culture that is positive and supportive.